There are many gaps in current knowledge about bats use of churches. Can you help us fill them? The information will help to support churches and to conserve the bat roosts they house.
The Bats in Churches Project needs your help to learn more about bats in churches both locally and nationally.
You can help us by volunteering for one of our two surveys:
- National Bats in Churches Study. We have 1000 priority churches, which have been randomly selected for this study. This involves borrowing equipment from us (including a bat detector and vials to collect bat droppings)
- Church Bat Detectives (launches 2020). A slightly less detailed survey, which can be carried out at any church cared for by the Church of England.
Everyone is welcome to take part!
Taking part is easy!
You only survey a church once; completing a questionnaire with church representatives and a daytime bat evidence survey. All told it'll take a few hours of your time.
For the National Bats in Churches Study you will also collect droppings, if you find them, for DNA analysis, and place a static bat detector in the church for two nights.
Why not involve your little ones and print this tick sheet (as shown in the image on the left hand side) and have them look out for bats too.
Why we need your help
The Church of England has over 16,000 churches, which can act as valuable roosting sites for bats. Some are known to house nationally significant maternity roosts, numbering several hundred bats. We don't know yet how many churches house bat roosts in the summer, but unofficial research suggests that it could be as many as 60% of churches dated from the medieval period. Churches could play an important role in the conservation of certain bat species.
Most of the time bats may go unnoticed in churches. However, living with bats isn't always easy, and large numbers can lead to substantial burdens for those volunteers caring for and cleaning the churches. In some cases, church representatives have been forced to cancel events and clean daily. There have been a few cases where churches have even had to close their doors.
These surveys will allow us to:
- Better understand how bats use churches across England. We'll be able to predict how many churches have bat roosts, the factors influencing the use of churches by bats and explore the differences between species and regions.
- Have a more thorough picture of the perspectives of those living with bats and the issues they may be facing.
- Provide better information and support for both church communities and bat conservation.